How do I …. My Shawl

I am being asked more and more frequently about repairing or strengthening shawls.

Oh, how I wish I had taken classes textile conservation and preservation already. But, I haven’t.

Before proceeding, I want to say I do not encourage the wear of original shawls.

What causes damage to a shawl

  • Folding creases the thread and causes fractures.
  • Dryness can dry out the fibers and make them brittle.
  • Moisture can invite mildew or mold.
  • Moths can eat holes.
  • Time is just time as it wears away the life of fiber.
  • Chemicals/dyes can cause some threads/fibers to be less stable than others. These can deteriorate quicker.

 

Reading up on the options

Further reading

  • Preservation begins at home: How to care for your textile collections” by Julia M. Brennan. (This is one of the nicer, easy to follow articles for at home.)***
  • Caring for Textiles blog.
  • The Museum Textiles “Issuu” page.
  • “A Conservator’s Approach to Viewing Textiles”, Textile Society of America, Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium, Sante Fe, NM, 2000.
  • Preserving Textiles: A Guide for the Nonspecialist,  Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana:  1999, 92pp.
  •  “Treating Mrs. Robertson’s 1802 Dress”, Costume Society of America, Dress, Earleville, Md,  1993-4, pp. 65-73.
  • “Fabric Wallcoverings: Historic Use, Cleaning and Conservation”, Historic Preservation, The Interiors Handbook for Historic Buildings, Vol. II, Washington, DC, 1993, pp. 5. 21-24.

 

For in-depth information on shawls and their history, read Paisley, Plaid, & Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

PPandP book cover

Published in: on January 14, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Shawls for Historic Interpretation

For more in-depth information, read Paisley, Plaid, & Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

PPandP book cover

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Shawls for Historic Interpretation

Kashmir, Asianic Paisley and Paisley-type Shawls

Paisley family shawl, possibly French

Fibers, weave and size: These shawls should ideally be made of hair brushed from the Kashmir/cashmere goat or from a wool and silk blend. The silk should be the warp or blended into the wool in a small amount. Avoid shawls with a rayon or acetate blended with the wool. Original Kashmirs are very light weight because of the tapestry twill weave. I have yet to be able to compare the weights of original and new. Look for sizes around 64 inches square or 64×128 inches as a double square.

Design: When looking for an Asianic shawl, look for a strong cone motif. The cone motifs should radiate out from a center field of black, white or red. These radiating motives create a star or spoked flower appearance from a distance.  The spokes should be connected with ribbon like borders consisting of small floral motives. By our era a newer shawl would have a smallish center. But, the higher cost of these shawls along with their durability means it would not be unlikely for a grown woman to have a shawl with a larger center from her youth. The outer border can be on two or four sides. This borer should be comprised of smaller designs brought together in the border. Kashmir borders will have more independent blocks of design while French borders will visually entwine each block with it’s neighbor.

Two other design options include the striped shawl and the border shawl.

Where to look: There are some nice shawls coming out of India. Many of these are available on online and via Ebay for various prices. When doing an online search use “Paisley Shawl” or “Cashmere Shawl” or “Antique Shawl” for your key words.

(note: I have read several 1990’s news stories regarding the skinning of goats for their under-coat hair, which is used to make shawls, thus endagering the goats. While shopping be sure to find a merchant you are confidant in.)

Woven shawls Red Wool Shawl

Fibers, weave and size: Wool or wool/silk blends. These should also be 64 inches square or 64 inches by 128 double square. A shawl relatively near these dimensions will look nice. The weave should be a tight plain or twill weave. The shawl can range from light weight to rather heavy if hand-woven.

Design : Look for solids, checks, plaids (preferably symmetrical) stripes and border plaids.

Golden yellow plaid shawl with detailWhere to look: This is a type of shawl you can make yourself. Many Museums offer weaving classes thru-out the year. You can also make a fabric shawl from woven wool lengths. You will need a dress weight to coat weight wool rather than a heavy weight  in a 54 inch to 60 inch width. Plain woven fabric and plaid woven fabrics work well. The yardage can fringed on the end by unravelling the ends by hand. To calculate your yardage, decide if you want a square or double square shawl and how long you wish your fringe to be on the ends. For a square shawl, purchase the width of the fabric plus 6 to 12 inches for fringe. For example: if you want a double square shawl out of 60 inch wide fabric purchase 130 inches for a 120 inch shawl with 5 inch fringe.  (see the article on fringing a shawl)

Printed shawls

Fibers, weave and size: Printed shawls come in wool, cotton and blends of wool, silk and cotton. Ideally, you would find a 64 inch square shawl, but the common 55 inch square shawl is not bad.

Design: Printed shawls vary by region. Look for period motifs and borders.

Where to look:  The Russian Pavlovo Posad company still makes printed shawls in their 19th century designs. There are several sellers listing these on ebay and more on the web. I am still trying to find a direct link to the company. I may have to settle with a regular address and phone number. Use “Pavlovo Shawls” or “Russian Shawls” for your internet search.

Sheer Shawls – Muslin Shawls, Grenadine & Barege

Fibers, weave and size: I still have not found sheer shawls that I like. These were silk, wool or cotton. They frequently had a plain central field and a stripe border creating a plaid motif.

Lawn, Gauze, Voile, Silk Organza & Batiste fabrics can be used to make a sheer shawl. The edges would need to be hand finished with a rolled hem. This isn’t what original shawls have though. You may want to starch the fabric as well. You can add tucks to the border or ribbon to the border or edge.  

Design:: Plain, woven plaids, woven checks, woven border plaids.

Where to look: – Online fabric merchants including Exclusive Silks and Fashion Fabric Club

Silk Shawls

Fibers, weave and size: I have not yet found the ideal silk shawl. Thai Silks has larger white shawls in their scarf section. These are a little smaller than ideal, but may suit your needs.

To make your own shawl, you want a durable silk, in the 64inch square range, no slubs with or without fringing. Look for a taffeta, china or habotai silk. Do not use satin.  I have seen solid color, shot (or changable silk) and patterned silk shawls. A couple of the India, China and Thai merchants sell nice silk shawls. I tend to think play it safe for silk shawls and go for simple. Also, many list as silk but are selling Viscose.

Design:: If you want to embroider your shawl, I highly suggest looking extensively at originals.

Embroidered China Crape

There are some fabulously beautiful embroidered shawls out there… but only a few designs are suitable. I occasionally pick through ebay to see what is out there. It is rare I find something that meets size, design, quality and fiber standards. But it is possible.

**Edit – The previous finds are no longer available. I’ll keep an eye out for more.

Lace Shawls

Sadly, every modern lace shawl I have seen is a synthetic. I may not have found the right maker. I suspect the prices may be quite high.

Crochet and Knitted Shawls

Great thing about these is you can make them your own. There are several patterns available in magazines and guide books. Many of these patterns are available digitally through Accessible Archives and online from various sites.

If you are purchasing a shawl, be sure to ask where the pattern design came from and what fibers the shawl is made out of. The shawl patterns above are worked in wool or silk.

Orenburg Lace Shawls

Fibers, weave and size – These should be 100% wool

Design – See originals

Where to look: – These are available from the same places the Pavlavo shawls are available. But not all are 100% wool. These should be square and very, very fine. The idea is they could fit through a wedding band. Most of the ones I see listed on Ebay don’t look like they have been blocked (set to the square shape.)

 

For more in-depth information, read Paisley, Plaid, & Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

PPandP book cover

 
 
 
 
Published in: on January 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm  Comments (3)  

Paisley, Plaid, and Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

PPandP book coverNow Available!!!

Exclusively as an Ebook in my Etsy Shop!!!

At long last, I offer you Paisley, Plaid, and Purled: Mid-Nineteenth Century Shawls. I am very excited to finally share my extensive research on mid-century shawls began over a decade ago.

PP&P is 120+ pages long looking at each of the shawls worn during the mid-nineteenth century, including the Civil War era. Learn about the types of shawls, where they came from and how they were worn along with much, much more.

PP&P includes over two dozen CDVs displaying period shawls, photos and illustrations. It also includes over 30 original directions for shawls including sewn and knit shawls.

Contents:
1. Introduction & Methodology
2. Shawl Culture
3. The Shawls
4. Domestically Made Shawls
5. Shawls for Living History
Bibliography & End Notes
Appendix Including a Glossary of Terms, Manufacturing, Production, and Tariff Statistics, and Exhibition Examples.

Published in: on January 1, 2016 at 1:00 am  Comments (5)  
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Paisley, Plaid, and Purled…..Coming New Year’s Day

PPandP book cover

Published in: on December 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm  Comments (3)  
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Shattering Silk – Why Not to Use Antique Silk Ribbon

Since our 21st century selection of silk ribbon is a teeny, tiny fraction of what it was in the 19th century, all to often we look to antique and vintage ribbon for embellishing our millinery. The silk florals, stripes, plaids, damasks, moires, pretty colors…. are all too tempting. They are just so pretty.

Well…. there can be a huge drawback to using antique or vintage ribbon for reproduction millinery.

wpid-2015-10-03-14.32.40.jpg.jpegAntique and vintage silk ribbons can be fragile. Even if they appear to be in strong shape, they can still be easily damaged. This black ribbon to the right is an example of this. This is 1″ ribbon on one of my personal winter bonnets. This is after the first wearing. The ribbon was tied in the morning when I left the house. It was not untied/retied at all through the day. This is how it looked when I took it off in the afternoon. This ribbon was part of an order of several black ribbons when I was out of my regular silk ribbon and my ribbon supplier was also out of ribbon. The ribbon appeared strong, being soft and supple. Obviously, this was not the case.

Bad for me. Good for you because this is a good chance to show what can happen.

The fractures or splits on this ribbon run the length of the ribbon. This means the weft threads are what broke. The weft threads, those running across the ribbon, are usually less strong than the weft threads that run the length of the ribbon. These fractures are along the lines where the ribbon folded/wrinkled in the bow. So, these fractures make sense. (This is also good to see because it can be compared to future observations of silk fractures. These would occur from the wearing. Other fractures can occur during the storing.)

Now, imagine this happening with a wider ribbon. This narrow ribbon only cost a few dollars a yard. A wider ribbon can cost $10, $20, even $50 a yard. Multiplied out by 2 to 5 yards going on a bonnet…. there would be lots of tears. I had a client who loved this wide green silk ribbon. It looked quite lovely. When it arrived, it was obviously quite dry and brittle. Using the ribbon would have been a disaster.

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imageHere is another example I picked up at an estate sale for the ribbon collection. It is a brilliant green silk in a five inch width. This ribbon appears to be in nice shape on the roll. But, just the pressure of a finger nail can break the fibers like a razor blade. Notice how this break is across the ribbon. This means I am breaking the warp threads, which should be the stronger fibers. imageThis ribbon, assuming it survived being attached to the bonnet (which I doubt it would) would shatter in the wearer’s hands.

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image

This pale blue silk is another example. this two inch wide ribbon appears to have a nice sheen. It is soft to the touch. It does not feel dry or have that weird crisped feel some aged ribbons can have.

image

Yet, it is still quite fragile. This break cuts across both the warp and weft threads.The break formed just from pressure in that area.

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Of course, not using antique and vintage silk ribbons leaves us with vintage blends, narrower modern silk ribbons and wider ribbons in modern fibers. I highly recommend feeling some orginal ribbons when you can. Also, feel the different qualities of modern an newer vintage ribbons so you can have a tactile knowledge of what is available and how it compares to originals.

Published in: on October 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Closer Look at My Winter Bonnets

IMG_7764I have been meaning to write about how I make my winter bonnets for a while now, a while being over a year. I really want to share with you what goes into each of the bonnets I make.

Why do I love working on winter bonnets?

As you know, with my straw bonnets it is all about the art, the lines and curves that make up each style. For the winter bonnets, it is equally as much about the why and how of the construction, they layers and the materials. I love figuring out why a bonnet was constructed in a specific way, what the material choices were for, why this little area was done this way, etc. There is also something about the visual texture the quilting or wadding creates. I find it pleasant.

I also get very, very cold in the winter. The soft, snuggly warmth of a wadded or quilted bonnet is comforting. I often want one of my 19th century bonnets for everyday wear during my frigid, pre-dawn morning commute.

Where do the patterns come from?
Each of the bonnets I am now making come directly from original bonnets in my collection. I have slowly been collecting winter bonnets with a variety of shapes and construction techniques. Each piece goes through my version of a conservation process (how I wish I had the resources to do everything I would like), ensuring there are no buggy nasties, helping the all too often crushed, scrunched, flattened fibers back into shape and stabilizing. Once I think a piece is ready and I am ready to focus on a piece, I have a note taking process that I am sure would make some people’s heads turn sideways in puzzlement. Hey, it works for me. From my notes, I draft a pattern. These patterns are what I use for creating my winter bonnets.

What materials do I use?

I try to use the same types of materials I find in original winter bonnets. Sadly, as with many things, we simply do not have the same silks they did in the 19th century. Of the fabrics we do have, I use silk taffeta, tight weave silk twill, silk faille, some special weave silks and tight weave smooth wool. For linings, again, I use what originals bonnets show – polished cotton, cotton prints, cotton weaves, silk and tropical wools.

For the batting and wadding, I use 100% wool batting. Occasionally, I will layer 100% wool batting with 100% cotton batting to get the right loft and firmness. Depending on the bonnet, I use a variety of lofts and layering. I refuse to use polyester batting. I do not think it is warm enough or gives the look of original bonnets. Due to allergy issues, I will consider using just 100% cotton or alpaca/cotton batting.

How do you know which bonnet will be right for you?

When choosing the right winter bonnet for you, I suggest thinking about the type of weather you have in your area and/or where you will attend events. Picture when you were out in the snow last winter, did the snow stick to your coat and hat? Was the snow wet? If you are in an area with sticky snow, I suggest a very smooth fabric like a silk taffeta. If you have wet snow, the tighter weaver the better. For wet snow, you really want a wool batting, I’d even consider silk interlined with a light wool fabric.

How do you trim your bonnets?

I look to originals to determine what kinds of trim I will use. While period fashion columns do suggest some additional trims, I have yet to determine to what extent these trims were actually used. So far, I have stuck to ribbon and silk trim. I may venture into tassels and beading. Maybe.

For the functional ties, I have found I love cotton sateen. This is entirely Eileen Hook’s fault since she showed me the cotton sateen she picked up at Needle and Thread. Cotton sateen is durable and ties nicely. I anticipate it doing very well in the wet of winter. For decoration, I do prefer silk ribbon, but will also use high quality modern ribbons such as Hyman Hendler’s. 

How do you quilt your bonnets?

Far prefer doing quilting by hand. I like the look of hand quilting more than that of machine quilting. That said, hand quilting can take a long time, a very long time in some cases. Yes, this has to be reflected in the price.  I understand machine can be faster, making a bonnet more affordable. In addition to the time/cost factor of machine quilting, there are occasions when a piece wants a tighter quilting than I can currently get with my hand quilting. I often end up arguing with myself over which approach to take, that of the tighter machine quilting and that of hand quilting.

What is the deal with wired and unwired?

From an interpretive perspective, this often comes down to two factors: Do you need to pack your bonnet flat? and How do you want it to frame your face? But, in terms of historical construction techniques, wiring is just one of several structural materials found in originals. (I’m going to hold on to the list of those materials for a certain something special.)

Why do I show photos of the insides?

I want to show you how I finished the insides because I know some people like pretty finished seams. As with originals, sometimes I make the seams pretty and sometimes I leave them.

EDIT TO ADD:

Do I have an Etsy shop?

Yes! A Milliner’s Whimsy by Anna Worden Bauersmith

Published in: on September 23, 2015 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  

Fanciful Utility Anniversary – Printable

wpid-2015-08-14-10.03.46-1.jpg.jpegHere is a useful printable: Sewing needle packet labels.. These are scanned from antique packets in my collection I’ve included directions for the two ways these packets are folded as well as label and packet measurements.

Sewing Needle Labels to Print and Fill Your FanU Case

*note: These are direct scans. Some were on the packets angled.

Construction:

wpid-2015-08-14-10.04.30-1.jpg.jpegEach of these packets can be made of black paper slightly lighter than writing paper and the label printed on white paper.

  • Print your labels on white printer paper. Cut them to the size indicated on the print out.
  • Cut the black paper using the dimensions accompanying each label – 3 times the width and 3 times the length. ie – if the folded packet is 1″x1.5″, cut the black paper 3″x4.5″
  • Fold the black paper in thirds lengthwise. Fold the paper in thirds width wise.
  • Looking at the placement chart and the notes with each label, glue the label in the corresponding location on the exterior. Use either a brush or small glue stick for the best control.
  • You can also cut a second piece of black paper, slightly smaller to fit inside the outer paper to help hold your needles.

wpid-2015-08-14-10.04.12-1.jpg.jpeg

Looking for your own copy of Fanciful Utility? 

Click HERE to go ESC Publishing.

Remember to check out the special Anniversary kits on Etsy

Published in: on August 14, 2015 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Fanciful Utility Anniversary – A Look at the Tools

Today I am looking at the most common tools found in a sewing case.  (Most of these tools are available in the Anniversary kits on Etsy)

Whether called  work-boxes, sewing cases or work chests, these beloved boxes  house both essential practicality and heart-felt love.

Lucy took the heavy parcel in her own hands, and began to open the folds of brown paper, and at last she exclaimed, ‘Oh, how nice! how pretty! How glad I am to have a real large work-box of my own! Thank you, dear mamma. Such a beautiful red box, and a lock and key to it! and Lucy proceeded to examine the contents

There were rows of reels of cotton, scissors, thimble, bodkin, a yard measure that would wind and unwind in a pretty ivory case, needle-case, and pin-cushion.” (“Lucy’s Winter Birth-day” by Mrs. Russell Gray from An Irish Story,  Archie Mason ed. Edinburgh, 1869.)

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From “The Last Essay of Celia: The Old Work-box” Foreign Quarterly Review, 1833.

Bodkin

Bodkins are found in many materials including wood, bone and metals. These are used to run ribbons or cords through channels of garments. They resemble a blunt needle with a large eye or eyes in the end. The end must be dull, not sharp, to protect the fabric and not snag.

You will require several bodkins of different sizes. The smoother they are, the better they run through the cases. Always get them with a knob at the end. Steel bodkins are more serviceable than those of gold or silver; but in buying steel ones, take care that they are not pewter; this you may ascertain by trying if they will bend. (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A Manual of Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie. Philadelphia, 1850.)

Stiletto (and Awl)

Stilettos are used pierce holes in fabric for eyelets and needlework such as white work. Stilettos can be bone or of several metals.  Early century dictionaries define stilettos as a small, unedged dagger with a sharp point.

The Boy's Book of Trades

The Boy’s Book of Trades

Awls seem to be more task oriented also for piercing holes in textiles as well as leather, some with wooden handles.

Scissors

Most of us know what scissors are. I find I prefer to have a small and medium size pair of scissors at events and an assortment of large scissors at home.

You will find it necessary to have three pair of scissors; a large pair for cutting out things that are thick and heavy; a smaller pair for common use, and a very small pair for work that is nice and delicate. They should all be sharp-pointed. When your scissors begin to grow dull, have them ground at once. The cost will not exceed six cents for each pair, (even if ground at a surgical instrument shop.) and haggling with dull scissors is very uncomfortable work. (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A Manual of Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie. Philadelphia, 1850.)

Thimble

Thimbles protect your finger(s) while you sew. Different thimbles aid in different ways depending on how you use them. Seamstresses tended to use the full cup thimbles most of us know, while tailors tended to use open end thimbles.

It is well to have always two thimbles, in case one chancing to be mislaid. When you find that a hole is worn in your thimble, give up the use of it; as it will catch the eyes of your needles and snap them off. (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A Manual of Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie. Philadelphia, 1850.)

Needles

You will want an assortment of needles in your sewing box suited to your work. I prefer having several sharps, several fine quilting needles that are good for silk, a couple embroidery needles and some strong just in case needles on hand in my box.

“In providing needles, short ones will generally be found most convenient, and their eyes should be rather large. Many of the needles that are put up in sorted quarters of a hundred are so small as to be of now possible use to anyone. Therefore, in buying needles, it is best to select for yourself. Have always some that are very large, for coarse strong purposes. When a needle breaks of bends, put it at once into the fire; for if thrown on the floor or out of the window, it may chance to run into the foot of someone.” (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A Manual of Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie. Philadelphia, 1850.)

The Illustrated Girl's Own Treasury.

The Illustrated Girl’s Own Treasury.

Spools

“It is well to get at least a dozen cotton spools at a time, that you may have always at hand the different gradations of coarse to fine. The fine spools of coloured cottons are far better for many purposes than bad sewing silk; but coloured sewing cottons should only be used for things that are never to be washed, as it always fades after being in water. Mourning chintz should on no account be sewed with black cotton as it will run when wet, and stain the seams. …. Keep always brown thread in the house; also hanks of gray, white, and black worsted, for darning winter stockings; and slack twisted cotton, and strong floss silk, for repairing other stockings.” (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A Manual of Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie. Philadelphia, 1850.)

1

Thread winders

Thread winders are small, flat objects used for carrying smaller amounts of thread. They came/come in mother of pearl, wood, bone, silver, pasteboard, horn and other materials. The most common are circles with notches or plus signs, but they have come in a very wide variety of shapes including fish and animals.

Pincushions

Pincushions came in a very wide variety suited to the user’s needs and preference. I’ll be talking more about pincushions in a few days.

Measures & Flat rule

Two measures you will find most helpful in your sewing box will be a short measuring stick and a tape measure. When I am doing millinery, I have an 8 1/2″ rule. While I am working on smaller sewing, a shorter rule is nice.

Tapes can be simple hand inked tapes or more decorative pieces that roll into wooden or horn holders.

Wax

A piece of white wax, for rubbing on a needleful of sewing silk to strengthen it, is a most useful little article;  (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book; A Manual of Domestic Economy, Eliza Leslie. Philadelphia, 1850.)

Other tools:

Pencil & Small Notebook – A simple pencil for marking or taking notes is always helpful.

The Boy's Book of Trades

The Boy’s Book of Trades

Chalk “a small box of prepared chalk, to dip the fingers in when the weather is warm and the hands damp” (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book.)

Emory bag – “Those that are made for sale have generally so little emery in them, that they are soon found to be useless. It is best to make your own emery-bags; buying the emery yourself at a druggist’s, or at an hardware store.” (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book.)

Sewing Brick – “We highly recommend a brick pincushion, as an important article of convenience when sewing long seams, running breadths, or hemming ruffles. It is too heavy to overset, and far superior to a screw pincushion.” (Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book.)

Weights – Also a weighted pincushion. “A smaller pincushion [than the above sewing brick] may be made in a similar manner, substituting a square block of wood.”(Miss Leslie’s Lady’s House-book.)

Find all the quotes from Miss Leslie above and more in this printable pdf booklet.

For further information:

The Lady’s Dictionary of Needlework, 1856

Treasures in Needlework, 1855

The Ladies’ Complete Guide…., 1854

The Hand-book of Needlework, 1842

A Period Workboxby Christian de Holacombe and Michaela de Neuville

What is in Your Sewing Box?

Looking for your own copy of Fanciful Utility? 

Click HERE to go ESC Publishing.

Remember to check out the special Anniversary kits on Etsy

Published in: on August 12, 2015 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  
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This Summer’s Millinery: Shades of Blue

I found it a little funny that when it finally got truly hot here and my head was screaming at me for it, that I was working on a bonnet whose trims reminded me of blue ice. I don’t know if anyone else sees the icy in the shades of blue or not.

The bonnet has a ribbon with satin, moire and grosgrain weaves – A nice find of the client. It made for a very, very cool bavolet with the diagonal stripes. It was so very full of body, I was tempted not to line it. But, couldn’t let myself do that. Take a look at those awesome deep blue velvet flowers. These are really stunning in person. I love the wild roses.

IMG_7020 IMG_7028 IMG_7029 IMG_7036 IMG_7042

Published in: on July 11, 2015 at 11:26 pm  Comments (2)  

Why are Bonnets so Much?

[I wrote this around this time last year. It was just requested on a FB group. You may also be interested this chart “The Cost of Authenticity” from 2010.]

This is a question that comes up fairly regularly. Bonnets are expensive.wpid-2014-05-24-20.18.40.jpg This is because they require multiple materials and require time to make them. ???????????????????????????????

To give you an idea, here are the materials that go into finished drawn bonnets and straw bonnets along with the price ranges for each item:

Straw Bonnets

  • Straw plait ($20-$55 a skein depending on origin, plait and color)
  • Millinery wire ($20/coil)
  • Lining ($10-$15/yard)
  • Facing ($10-$20/yard)
  • Organza, net or lace for frill ($10-$30/yard)
  • Bavolet net ($32/yard)
  • Silk or Ribbon for Bavolet ($5/length to $30/length)
  • Ribbon for functional ties ($2.80)
  • Fashionable Ribbon ($4-$30/yard)
  • Flowers ($10-$40)
  • thread, sizing, etc

Drawn Bonnets

  • Buckram ($4-$12/yard)
  • Millinery Wire ($20/coil)
  • Cane ($15 coil)
  • Silk exterior fabric ($10-$30 yard)
  • Lining ($10-$15/yard)
  • Facing ($10-$20/yard)
  • Organza, net or lace for frill ($10-$30/yard)
  • Bavolet net ($32/yard)
  • Ribbon for functional ties ($2.80)
  • Fashionable Ribbon ($4-$30/yard)
  • Flowers ($10-$40)
  • thread, sizing, etc

To hand sew a straw form from straw plait, it takes between 6 and 10 hours depending on the type of plait and the shape of the bonnet or hat. Finishing and decorating varies.

Published in: on May 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm  Comments (2)